Here are 5 essential tips for keeping your patients eyes healthy this summer.
Wear sunglasses with UV protection outdoors
Most patients don't realize that it is actually possible for their eyes to get sunburned! Make sure to let all of your patients know that just like their skin, their eyes need protection from the sun! Wearing sunglasses at all times outdoors is very important in protecting their eyes from harmful UV rays. Educate them that excessive exposure to UV light can increase their risk for developing early cataracts and macular degeneration. Advise them that when looking for a new pair of sunglasses, make sure that they find a pair that has 100% UV protection for both UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, sunglasses will also provide a shield of protection from dust and debris that can get blown into their eyes, which is a great added bonus, especially on those windy beach days!
Maintain safe wear and care of contact lenses
You'd be surpised at how many patients improperly use and care for their contact lenses, and a lot of this has to do with the fact that they were never explicitly told what they can and can't do with their contacts. Never assume that your patients were properly educated in the past, always ask their routine and educate them about the do's and don'ts at the end of each exam. Help them keep their eyes healthy this summer by reminding them to practice safe contact lens wear. Long days, hot weather, travel, and lots of time outdoors can put your patients at a higher risk of developing a contact lens-related eye problem. In order to minimize this risk, educate them on maintaining proper contact lens hygiene! Important things to bring up are to make sure that their hands are washed before handling their contact lenses, always use fresh contact lens solution, and minimize contact with water; this includes removing their contacts before going swimming or in a hot tub. And if they notice any redness, irritation, light sensitivity, decreased vision, or discharge, advise them to discontinue their contacts and contact the clinic immediately.
Wear protective eyewear
Summertime often means working on projects around the house. This can include gardening, painting, remodeling, etc. that can potentially result in small objects flying around. Make sure to educate your patients on the importance of wearing proper eye protection during these activities. And by eye protection, this does not mean regular glasses or sunglasses, this means professional quality goggles with impact resistant lenses and full coverage frame. You’ll also want remind your active patients to be sure to protect their peepers while playing sports, especially those that utilize small sized balls, such as golf balls, squash balls, and badminton shuttlecocks. Wearing proper eyewear can prevent up to 90% of serious eye injuries. Advise them that if they do experience an eye injury, make sure to call the cliinc so that a proper eye health examination can be performed, and serious ocular health issues can be ruled-out.
Avoid chemicals and natural irritants
Chemicals found in pools and bacteria often found in lakes and rivers can be harmful or bothersome to the eyes. Make sure that your patients know to always wear goggles if they will be opening their eyes while playing or swimming in water. Other natural irritants that they may be exposed to while outdoors or hiking can include poison ivy, oak, and insect bites. Let them know that if they find themselves outside near these irritants to be mindful of keeping their hands clean after touching plants, as rubbing allergens into their eyes can be very uncomfortable. Advise them that if they notice any eye irritation, swelling, or redness, after any of these activities, call the clinic so that you or one of your classmates can aid in determining the cause and help relieve their symptoms.
Schedule their yearly eye examination
Since your patients and their kids often have a little extra free time over the summer, what a better time to remind them to schedule their annual eye examination?! Educate them that a comprehensive eye exam is one of the most important preventative ways to preserve vision, and is the only way to accurately assess the health of their eyes, diagnose an eye disorder or disease, and determine if they require corrective lenses. They should be aware that catching potential eye problems early could save their vision in the future, and that makes for an extremely bright and happy summer!
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